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ongoing Michael Stipe

The show

Fondazione ICA Milano presents, from Tuesday 12 December 2023 to Saturday 16 March 2024, the large solo exhibition “I have lost and I have been lost but for now I'm flying high” by Michael Stipe (USA, 1960), a multifaceted visual artist and iconic leader of the musical group REM

The exhibition project, curated by Alberto Salvadori and designed specifically for the occasion, has the portrait as the fulcrum of his research, interpreted through a wide range of expressive languages ranging from photographs to book covers, from ceramics to sculptures and audio works . On display at the ICA Milan Foundation is a selection of unpublished works that trace a path in the artistic production of Michael Stipe, offering an original reflection that intertwines the concepts of homage and vulnerability. The title of the exhibition evokes a declaration by the artist who identifies vulnerability as a real driving force. Starting from the chaotic dimension that characterizes our contemporaneity, vulnerability becomes for Stipe a presence to be welcomed, cherished and used as a tool to find new paths to take. The power inherent in vulnerability emerges in the exhibition from the reading and interpretation of the poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann (1927), in which the reader is invited to create, model, invent a new calm, born from the acceptance of one's own fragility and the constant search for its own dimension of serenity.


The exhibition itinerary conceived for the ICA Milan Foundation thus offers a survey of Michael Stipe's creative universe, defining it as a whole as a great self-portrait composed of portraits. The sculptures on display are a tribute to the artists who helped shape his vision, among which Constantin Brancusi, Marisa Merz and a Roman copy of an ancient Greek sculpture stand out. Taken together, the works give an impression of the moment of transition in which we find ourselves. The artist declines the works through different methods of formal construction which see on the one hand the use of analogue representation - particularly evident in the hand-made sculptures - on the other a completely digital creation path, present through industrially produced objects set up in show.

Everyday life is his repertoire of inspirations which materialize in a variety of possible restitutions in the form of photographic portraits, sculptures in plaster and ink, plastic and concrete, book production and audio/video performances. In Stipe's visual research, the range of action reflects a transversal and transdisciplinary expressive totality, whose creative dimension is characterized by the instinctive exploration of different media.

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